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This is all great tips and ideas on how to design and work through the challenges associated with designing! Thank you all, and feel free to keep the tips and tricks coming. 

I really like the idea of scaffolding in order to test a specific mechanic or design element with players. This sounds like a great way to determine how best to develop that mechanic further, or if the idea needs to be revised entirely. 

I'm a huge lover of world-building, and I saw one game -- Iron Edda -- that approached the worldbuilding through a fascinating mechanic of  building it with the players themselves. There was a mechanic to it and a set of tables to help generate ideas. I like this sort of approach to keep players feeling like they are really helping to form and build the story and world along with the GM.

So question: How does worldbuilding elements come into play in your designing? How do you deal with that aspect? And how do you deal with the impact the environment of the world can have on players?

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My recurring themes, which I suppose could be taken as political as well, is based on the following: Love is an action that attempts to do the least amount of harm and the most amount of good; justice is what love looks like in public (Cornel West said that I believe). Conflict resolution is the first action to attempt, and physical violence is last resort.

Most of my games are focused on:
1. Exploration and discovery (this can take the form of identity exploration/discovery, environmental exploration/discovery, or scientific exploration/discovery)

2. Radical Inclusion. (We live in a highly diverse world. Why would our fantasy or science fiction settings be any different? I want to mirror the glorious diversity within our world.) 

3. Truly living by love requires actions and follow-through. This can be done through conflict resolution, restorative justice, assisting others, positive support, dismantling of oppressive systems through nonviolent (or if no other option available through revolution) and violence is seen as last option when dealing with intense conflicts.  A lot of my games tend to be non-combat oriented and more conflict resolution oriented.

4. We all have a limited amount of energy in the day. To assume we are limitless in games troubles me as it excludes those who have little spoons from being present in our stories (a lot of systems don't have a good mechanic for this outside of the stress factor I saw in Blades). Thus, I prefer to set my games with a mechanic where there is only a certain amount of energy in a day, and that energy can be replenished by eating, resting, doing a self-care action. This then allows the characters to do a bit more strategy and discussing amongst themselves the best way to proceed, in order to avoid overextending themselves, which can lead to injury or exhaustion (that can set them back from achieving a goal). This way if someone wishes to play a neurodiverse or disabled character, they have a mechanic that feels more true to how that character would exist within the setting.

Characters can be evil and try to subvert or obstruct the above, which is possible in my games. But it makes it a bit harder for the party to have cohesion if so. Morally gray characters have very interesting reactions to the above, which makes for interesting gameplay I think.

I was a moderator for Legendfire: Writing Forum for several years, and it was a great writing forum of decent folks, but the last two years of its existence was just a mess. We closed shop in 2017 because it was too much for my friend (who owned the site) and myself to keep it alive what with all the stuff that was happening that year. Plus the moderating team had internal fights that turned too problematic, and there wasn't a lot of reliable folks to find for moderators. So, for those exiled writers from that forum, I created a discord server, and most of the good peeps migrated there to talk about writing and game narratives.

Hi all, I'm Bird (also known as Aidan), and I use they/them pronouns. I've been playing role-playing games since I was a kid, mostly with family and friends.

I prefer to create my own worlds, and have been working on a massive world-build project called Elivera since my youth. Most of my science fiction novels, short stories, and game narratives take place in this universe. I've created some resources for playing in this universe that utilizes Starfinder's approach to dice rolls, attributes, feats, etc (just adopting it to Elivera).  Though I'd love to develop my own system rather than relying on core rules of others. So far, I've been working with friends on a computer game for Elivera, but I'd love to have my tabletop resources refined and available too.

I've also created an alternate history that utilizes Pathfinder classes and combat systems, but it's set on Earth, where dwarves, elves, halflings, and so forth lived along with humans, and how that altered history. I mostly use these resources with homebrew games with friends and family, but have thought about sharing it with the wider public. I haven't published anything in the tabletop genre yet. I mostly just lurk and listen in the community.

You can find me at:  or on twitter @AAidanbird

Hi all, 

I'm Bird, and have dabbled in tabletop for awhile, mostly creating my own resources for games.  I mostly lurk in the community, listening  on twitter and discord. Most of my writing is science fiction.

I thought it might be helpful to have a tips and tricks discussion to share knowledge among one another on ways to write tabletop games and resources. Pitfalls folks have noticed and ways to avoid those. Tips about collaborative storytelling and how to direct that toward a positive experience for all players. And really any sort of shared knowledge about writing for tabletop gaming and physical games in general.

What say you?